Association of Early Postoperative Pain Trajectories with Longer-term Pain Outcome after Primary Total Knee Arthroplasty

Jasvinder A. Singh*, Celeste A. Lemay, Lisa Nobel, Wenyun Yang, Norman Weissman, Kenneth G. Saag, Jeroan Allison, Patricia D. Franklin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Importance: Studies to date have not comprehensively examined pain experience after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Discrete patterns of pain in this period might be associated with pain outcomes at 6 to 12 months after TKA. Objectives: To examine patterns of individual post-TKA pain trajectories and to assess their independent associations with longer-term pain outcome after TKA. Design, Setting, and Participants: This prospective cohort study combined data from a national US TKA cohort with ancillary pain severity data at 2 weeks and 8 weeks after the index TKA using a numeric rating scale. All participants received primary, unilateral TKA within the Function and Outcomes Research for Comparative Effectiveness in Total Joint Replacement (FORCE-TJR) national network of community sites in 22 states or at the lead site (University of Massachusetts Medical School). Participants had a date of surgery between May 1, 2013, and December 1, 2014. The data analysis was performed between January 13, 2015, and July 5, 2016. Exposures: Pain trajectories in the postoperative period (8 weeks). Main Outcomes and Measures: Index knee pain at 6 months after TKA using the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) pain scale. Group-based trajectory methods examined the presence of pain trajectories in the postoperative period (8 weeks) and assessed whether trajectories were independently associated with longer-term pain (6 months). Results: The cohort included 659 patients who underwent primary TKA with complete data at 4 points (preoperative, 2 weeks, 8 weeks, and 26 weeks). Their mean (SD) age was 67.1 (8.0) years, 64.5% (425 of 659) were female, the mean (SD) body mass index (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) was 30.77 (5.66), 94.5% (613 of 649) were white, and the mean (SD) preoperative 36-Item Short Form Health Survey physical component summary and mental component summary scores were 34.1 (8.2) and 53.8 (11.4), respectively. Two pain trajectory subgroups were identified at 8 weeks after TKA: patients who experienced fast pain relief in the first 8 weeks after TKA (fast pain responders, composing 72.4% [477 of 659] of the sample) and patients who did not (slow pain responders, composing 27.6% [182 of 659] of the sample). After adjusting for patient factors, the pain trajectory at 8 weeks after TKA was independently associated with the mean KOOS pain score at 6 months, with a between-trajectory difference of-11.3 (95% CI,-13.9 to-8.7). Conclusions and Relevance: The trajectory among slow pain responders at 8 weeks after surgery was independently associated with improved but greater persistent index knee pain at 6 months after TKA compared with that among fast pain responders. Early identification of patients with a trajectory of slow pain response at 8 weeks after TKA may offer an opportunity for interventions in the perioperative period to potentially improve the long-term pain outcomes after TKA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere73917
JournalJAMA network open
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 13 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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